Power of Ten Update
The NYS Comptroller has released a report that finds that East Ramapo has been paying yeshivas to bus students without documentation that they attend school or even exist.
The comptroller only requested 300 records, a small portion of the thousands of records the district is required to keep to justify the millions of dollars paid to yeshivas. 93 of the 300 records were completely missing and 65 were deficient. Also, “all nonpublic transportation applications for the school years prior to 2017-18 had been destroyed.” The comptroller also found that the number of students that yeshiva private contractors had billed for was higher than the total number of students registered at the yeshivas! The difference was several hundred thousand dollars.
Read the Comptroller’s Report Here
The news about failure to oversee spending on busing for yeshiva private contractors must be read in contrast to the draconian measures taken with public school students.
This year, cost-cutting measures were taken (for public school students only) that maximized the number of children on a bus. The result is that many have longer rides, must search for a seat on a full bus, can’t sit with a friend, and are even told that heavy kids must find a thin partner for a seat. The consultant hired by the district seems to be good at the geometry of putting children and bus runs together like a game of Tetris, but has no idea of the way human beings behave socially, or that children may have feelings. Additionally, the district has sold all it’s buses and laid off all the drivers.
At the same time the district was cutting the transportation budget for public school children, it was paying yeshiva private contractors to “transport students who may not have been eligible or existent.”
In the five years since the Greenberg report, East Ramapo has received tens of millions of dollars of additional state aid. This money has funded Kindergarten, Arts, etc. But the key finding of the report was that the school board favors yeshivas’ needs over public school students’ needs. This has clearly not been addressed, nor is it likely to be addressed without further state action.
The following is a list of payments made to yeshiva private transportation contractors for the 2018-19 school year:
- YESHIVATH VIZNITZ $2,284,735.35
- UNITED TALMUDICAL ACADEMY $1,602,478.07
- CONGREGATION YESHIVA AVIR YAKOV $1,275,266.73
- BNOS ESTHER PAPA $959,566.17
- CONGREGATION BETH ROCHEL $954,761.75
- BOBOV OF MONSEY $635,238.45
- CONGREGATION BAIS MALKA $574,590.24
- CENTRAL UTA OF MONSEY $501,833.54
- YESHIVA BETH DAVID $500,382.37
- BNOS DERECH YISROEL OF MONSEY $412,980.68
- BAIS TRANY OF MONSEY $406,087.00
- CONGREGATION MACHZIKEI HADAS OF BELZ $367,433.28
- CONG NOIAM MGODIM $319,302.15
- YESHIVA SANZ-KLAUSENBERG $313,039.86
- CONGREGATION TORAS EMA $226,969.60
- CONG. BAIS CHINUCH ATERES BNOS INC. $220,793.16
- BNEI YAKOV YOSEF OF MONSEY $202,846.20
- TALMUD TORAH ADAS YEREIM $181,550.88
- OHR YOCHANAN $162,625.20
- BOBOVER YESHIVA OF MONSEY $162,391.83
- CONGREGATION BAIS CHANA MALKA $137,951.44
- CONGREGATION YESHOUS MOSHE VIZNITZ $120,422.36
- TALMUD TORAH DARKEI AVOS-MONSEY $112,876.75
- BETH ROCHEL SCHOOL FOR GIRLS $92,444.50
- MOSDOS SANZ OF MONSEY $91,851.36
- CONG TALMUD TORAH D’CHASIDEI $71,484.15
- CONGREGATION BETH DAVID $56,699.08
- BNOS CHANA VIEN $30,943.00
- BNOS ZION OF BOBOV MONSEY $28,842.00
- MOSDOS SANZ KLAUSENBERG OF MONSEY INC $27,645.80
- CONGREGATION KOIFER NEFESH $25,707.06
- CONGEGATION VIEN OF MONSEY $2,347.40
Many of the children transported by the yeshiva private contractors live very close to the schools they attend. For instance, Yeshiva Avir Yakov serves mostly children who reside in the village of New Square, a village only 0.4 sq. mile in area. NY State does not reimburse for “courtesy busing” trips less than 1.5 mile. Additionally, the district allows separate buses for boys and girls.